Two days ago, Brynn, came home from school having lost a tooth.
She had the plastic tooth holder necklace and a little more gapped smile to prove it.
It had been an exciting day — not only had she lost a tooth, her 3rd grade teacher had planned a surprise glow party celebrating the next to last day of school, and my girl couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.
We were running around, collecting our rain gear, as we were getting ready to go with my oldest daughter to cheer on the varsity soccer team at the state quarterfinal in a torrential downpour.
As Brynn was telling me about doing math problems with highlighters at the glow party, as I was rounding up all the ponchos we own and telling Maya it was time to go, a text came through from my childhood best friend, “Your sister and fam ok in San Antonio? I know it’s 90 minutes away but still too close for comfort.”
I dropped the ponchos I was holding and quickly googled “San Antonio news.”
The headlines out of Uvalde filled my screen.
My girl lost a tooth at school that day.
Nineteen children and two teachers lost their lives.
Yesterday, I sat on a beach towel in the corner of Brynn’s class for a picnic lunch. Maya had gotten done with her last final earlier in the day, so we picked up Subway and headed to the elementary school together. We caught the Awards ceremony, then watched as kid’s hurriedly ate, so that they could then grab their yearbooks and run from classmate to classmate getting their signatures.
There was so much energy — so much end of school, summer is here, joy in that room — and I found myself fighting back tears as I took it all in.
Tears for that fourth grade class,
tears for their families who would never have a moment like the one I was having again,
tears for a school full of children who will be forever changed by this gross violence,
tears for Uvalde and too many other communities,
tears for a generation of children who regularly practice ALICE drills,
tears for our teachers who bear too much in these days,
tears for our nation and our inability to find our way forward into a safer and better future together.
This coming Sunday, on Memorial Day Weekend, Stu Ervay, a veteran who is a member of our community will share his reflections on The Four Freedoms. In the midst of World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. So many have sacrificed their lives for those freedoms and yet somewhere along the way, it feels that we have squandered those sacrifices, we have forgotten what freedom really looks like, we have lost our way.
I am going to be honest with you — I am not sure how we find it — but what I do know is that the only way we will is together. Which is part of the fear of these days, because it seems so impossible in our current climate. Yet, what is at stake if we do not come together to find the best way forward is on full display.
You better believe I am praying —
but what I am praying for most fervently is for God to find a way to bring us together,
to loosen the chokehold fear has us all in just enough
that we might work with one another to address the complex problems we are facing,
and find the 100 different things that we need to do
to move toward a world where our kids our safe and all people are truly free.
I am praying God would make the part I have to play, we have to play, in that work really clear.
I am praying God would grant us everything we need to answer that call.
I am praying God would help me—us—all of us—find our way toward the future our kids deserve.